When a tenant denies being a tenant Huh?

by Readers Question

9:25 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

When a tenant denies being a tenant Huh?

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When a tenant denies being a tenant Huh?

I doubt lt if anyone here has ever had this problem. I have a tenant 30 yr old Chap that has been renting out a flat for 2 years for £475 per month, his housing benefit was then reduced under new law not to pay under 35s a one bed rate (£450), so Housing Benefit was paid at £250.

This put him in arrears, to the tune of circa £1,500. His friend and son offered to move in so council paid their £550 rate, thus the rent was set at £800. You would think great news for landlord, but the friend tried to intervene to receive the rent from council and they refused and paid me as landlord.

In anger and spite, the friend then phoned council to state that she has NEVER LIVED at the property, and said she only visited her boyfriend at the address (this after signing the HB form stating she lived there). Council suspended payment. Council have not requested payment back.

We have sent in 3 witness statements from neighbours stating they have seen the friend go in and out over the past few months. We have sent a recorded letter to the friend with rent arrears notice today (this should prove she is there). Her and the original tenant’s tenancy started Aug 4th, as council say they have never had a tenant state they do not live at a place (even though they feel she is there). The council have sent officers out twice to check but no-one answers the door.

What do you think I should do?

AAdenial



Comments

Chris Best

10:22 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

You could arrange a landlord's inspection of the property and invite the council officers along. This would allow them to look at the living arrangements and come to a view of how many people are living there.

Robert Mellors

10:28 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Does she actually live there?
Is she named as a joint tenant on the tenancy agreement?
When you took her details, did you get her old address? If so, contact the landlord of the old address to check if she is still the tenant there.
Does she have mail doing to her at the new address?
If she is claiming welfare benefits, do the DWP have her registered at the new address? (They will only tell you this if you have signed authorisation, I get this with every new resident, I hope other landlords do too).
You mentioned a child, so presumably the school/nursery will have the child's address registered.
If she (or child) is known to Social Services, then they should be able to verify her address.

Some of these things you may be able to check for yourself, but some will be protected information under data-protection BUT you could suggest that the HB Dept will be able to investigate and obtain this information from the relevant organisations, e.g. Royal Mail should be able to confirm if post goes there for her, Council's Social Services team can verify if she or child is known to them and if known at this address, HB themselves should be able to contact previous landlord, DWP, schools, etc.

As a precaution I suggest serving them with notices, and if the matter cannot be resolved, then ending their tenancy as soon as possible.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

10:28 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

do nothing wait and see what the council say

Rod

11:23 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Keep away from HB tenants as they are a real pain, I could write a book. Sorry not much help, got lots of probs of my own!

Hugh Jass

11:34 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

You should have issued a section 21 when the rent changed. You should have also issued a section 8 after he went 2mths in arrears. I presume she signed a tenancy ? You just need to go through the motions and get them out...bad, lying tenants are no good...put it behind you and vet the next tenant properly...

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

11:42 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Rodney - I could not agree more.......

Robert Mellors

11:49 AM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Another thought...... if the friend tried to get the Council to pay her the HB, then she must have again declared that she was living there. It appears to me that the Council have multiple declarations that she is living there, (including the neighbour statements), and they have clear evidence of her being a tenant (assuming she is named on the tenancy agreement), so even without doing all these further checks which they could easily do if they were serious about verifying the situation, they should be making a decision based on the balance of probabilities, i.e. that she is a tenant, does have a rental liability, and is residing there. Put this to the Council (in a friendly, non-confrontational way), and suggest the additional checks they could do (as I've stated in the other posting above), and see what they come back with.

This will very definitely put the onus on them to make a decision, and to do the other checks if they feel it necessary to do so. It may not get you a quick decision, it may not even get you the right decision, but it certainly improves your chances. It also gives you much clearer grounds for complaint and compensation in the future if the Council fail to do anything (or cancel the claim without doing these suggested checks/verifications).

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

12:00 PM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Sadly... I can envisage clawbacks........

Landlord Geoff

13:12 PM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Best" at "07/11/2014 - 10:22":

Dealing with this type of problem is difficult and sometimes it is best to try and have mediating dialog rather than aggressive.
Firstly, go in person to the housing benefit office and get "the facts". Then you will know how to move forward. If this means issuing an S21 then so be it, but when delivering it say you are doing it as a precautionary measure and if the issues get sorted out satisfactorily you will not enforce it.
As ABAS says you may well be in a clawback situation and have further losses to take down the line. You may also have deposit issues. The sooner you take action the sooner the situation will be resolved, what ever the outcome is.
If tenancy agreement started 4 Aug you can't get possession until 4 Feb at earliest.

Geoff
landlordgeoff.weebly.com

Hugh Jass

14:39 PM, 7th November 2014
About 4 years ago

No...he issues a section 8, then applies to the court for an eviction order. The apply to the high court to get them out within 7 days of that order...Don't bother trying to work with them...just get them out.

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